If you do a search online about survival supply caches hundreds of pages become available for viewing. There are as many opinions on the subject as there are pages, so it can be confusing. Everyone has their own thoughts on the subject, but keep in mind every situation is different, so there is not a one size fits all. Common sense has to play a role however.
Keep in mind some of the blog writers and forum posters may be auditioning to write scripts for the Walking Dead television show, so you do have to sift through the information, and not take what is written at face value.
The concept of a cache is simple. Hide essentials supplies that can be retrieved later. Additionally, you have to protect the supplies from moisture, rodents, insects, and thieves.
After doing some research you may find that one person believes in hiding ammunition in one cache and firearms in another for example. The idea of course, is that if someone finds one or the other he or she does not get it all. However, what happens if you show up at the ammunition cache without your firearm, because it was stolen or lost. You now have a thousand rounds of ammunition and no firearm, so you have to load up the ammo and start the trek to the cache that has spare firearms.
To some this may be acceptable, but common sense should tell you that no matter how many caches you have they should all replicate each other, because if not you will be digging holes all over the country. It may make more sense to have one or two well stocked caches that are self sustaining, so if you show up in nothing but shorts and sandals you have all that is needed for surviving from that point forward. It makes sense to have caches within a reasonable distance of your home as well.
Caches are not just for those that have bugged out. Having a cache buried close by could be a life saver if your community is struck by a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake or even if a wildfire strikes the area.
Your home and everything inside may be destroyed, but having a cache close by means you having clothing, medical supplies, food and other essentials in the first few hours and days of the event.
Bugging Out and Supply Caches
You have routes mapped out and you have a plan. You know where you would go once the SHTF and you have caches buried along the route. Sounds good on paper but, and there is always a “but” when it comes to plans and the execution of said plans. Things rarely work out as planned however.
Again common sense should tell you that unless you have a comparable location you can actually get to that has shelter, and a certain level of infrastructure then bugging out is dangerous. Some so-called experts recommend that you have a bug-out location 70 to 100 miles from a metropolitan area, which makes sense until you are faced with getting there on foot.
Your supply caches are located along the route, and you assume you can walk to each one in 24 hours, based on a 3 mph hour walking speed. First, you will not be walking at 3 mph so you may very well be out of certain supplies before you even make it to the first cache. A bug-out-bag is supposedly designed to sustain you for 72-hours, but to reduce weight you are carrying less water and food because you assumed you would make it to your cache to resupply.
It probably makes more sense in most cases, to have supply caches buried so you can retrieve the supplies to bring back to your home to shelter in place. Why not just leave the supplies at home then. If you have all of your supplies in one place they can be all stolen or damaged at one time.
If you cannot get to your safe haven or bug-out location without hunting for buried supplies then you are better off not leaving at all. It does however, make sense to have supplies buried at your destination, so if or when you do get there you can sustain yourself for a certain period. Burying supplies in areas you have no control over means you may lose your supplies.
Even if you cannot immediately get to your safe haven you know there are supplies there that can be recovered at some point. Having caches here and there along multiple routes because one may be blocked is cost prohibitive and time consuming, and you simply have no control over the locations. You may show up to retrieve your cache one day to find a strip mall built over your supplies.
A survival cache can be buried in your backyard to make sure you have supplies in the event of a robbery, fire or any disaster that destroys your supplies inside the home. Unless someone besides you knows you have supplies buried in the backyard they are likely safe from marauders and looters.
Bury supplies so if you are literally run out of your home you can supply yourself. This may mean hiding certain caches close to the home, but out of sight of the home, so you can recover them without being discovered. This will take careful planning, but it makes more sense than having several caches buried 50 miles apart in various locations.
Having supplies buried 20 miles from your home is doable during a crisis, because even if you had to hike to them you can within a reasonable period. Beyond 20 mile and the situation cannot be controlled. Survival is all about controlling your environment to the greatest extent possible.